Capiz is sprawling and surprising, though largely uncharted and overshadowed by its more famous neighbors, it has its own attractions to boast. Whether it is the province rich history, the surfeit of superb seafood restaurants or the idyllic beaches that draw you here, you will find yourself stylishly tucked away from the crowd-magnet Boracay and Iloilo yet near enough when you fancy a stroll to its sandy beaches and turquoise waters.
Here’s a list of things to do in Roxas City and Capiz, ideal for first time travelers in the Seafood Capital of the Philippines:
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ROXAS CITY HERITAGE TOUR
Remnants of its glorious past loom over Roxas City, and you’ll be glad to know that most of them are strategically located at the city center. You can do a walking tour, but better start early if you don’t want to sweat like a pig due to the sweltering heat. I recommend booking a hassle-free Roxas City Tour with Las Islas Travel and Tours for only Php 500 per person. Their office is located at Roxas City Bus Terminal.
For the uninitiated, Capiz was the second Spanish settlement after Cebu that was established by the Spanish colonizers. Start your tour by paying a visit to the ancestral house of Manuel Roxas, the last president of the Commonwealth who hails from Roxas City. The house though is not open to the public as it serves as a private house of his descendants. Just a stone’s throw away is the well-preserved Roxas Cathedral which was completed back in 1876. Adjacent to it is the controversial Roxas City Fountain which had been modified a few times in recent years. Proudly standing nearby is the Capiz Provincial Capitol, draped by neoclassical design. Meanwhile, the over 100 year-old Roxas City Bridge adjacent to the Capitol, connects the city’s commercial center to the main road.
ALSO READ: CAPIZ TOURISTS ATTRACTIONS
INDULGE ON SEAFOOD
No trip to Capiz will be complete without tasting its seafood, and the go to place is Baybay Beach in Roxas City where seafood restaurants never stopped expanding. On our recent trip courtesy of La Isla Travel and Tours, we dined at Timplado along Baybay Beach.
At dusk, squeeze in amid the regulars at this newly-opened restaurant, they’re all devouring huge plates of perfectly cooked diwal and scallops! I think I even finished one plate of fresh talaba (oyster) which you can order for only Php 40 per plate! Needless to say, everything is impossibly fresh here and delicious, from shrimps to fish! And don’t miss their signature dish – native chicken binakol sa kawayan, a popular chicken soup in Western Visayas which tastes like tinolang manok, but instead of using water for the soup, coconut water and meat are used. It is traditionally cooked in bamboo (thus the name) to seal in the aroma and flavor of the native chicken making it tastier than regular chicken binakol.
Interestingly, Timplado also serves Korean and Japanese dishes. If you are looking for pasalubong, check out their home-made healthy food such as toasted ginger, ginger candy, salad dressings, sweet potato peanut caramel and even kimchi.
Baybay Beach, Roxas City
Mobile #: 0919 447 6349 or 6431 737
Another place to dine in Roxas City is the hilltop restaurant Café Terraza which offers a breath-snatching view of Roxas City while enjoying a seemingly memorable meal. Locals and tourists alike congregate on this hilltop café for languorous midday meals and dinner. They serve a wide array of seafood cuisines as well as Asian and Western dishes with a Filipino twist. We had the usual local dishes such as seafood kare-kare, seafood sinigang, calamares, sisig and grilled pork. They also serve cakes and pastries such as blue berry cheesecake, red velvet cake, chocolate cake and carrot cake.
Sacred Heart of Jesus Ave, Roxas City, Capiz
Phone: +63 36 6660 237 / +63 917 312 1498 / +63 939 939 2011
Hours: Open 6AM–10PM
VISIT THE PILGRIMAGE SITES IN CAPIZ
While you are at Cafe Terraza, it is best to drop by the giant statue of Jesus Christ, proudly standing at 132 feet tall, one of the pilgrimage sites in Capiz. They say it is even taller than Rio de Janero’s Christ the Redeemer in Brazil. Another famed pilgrimage site in the province is Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto Meditation Hills or what locals call as Meditation Hills situated in Sapian, Capiz. Here you’ll find a cross on top (which was initially built by typhoon Yolanda) offering a spectacular view of Sapian and the highway heading to Aklan and Iloilo.
SEE THE BIGGEST CATHOLIC CHURCH BELL IN ASIA
A mere 15 minute drive from Roxas City center is the sleepy municipality of Pan-ay, where you can find the biggest Catholic church bell in Asia baptized by the locals as Dakong Linganay. This iconic bell is enshrined at the bell tower of the age-old Sta. Monica Church, which is an attraction in itself. What makes this bell special is, aside from its size, it is made from 76 sacks of coins! While you are at it, also check out Museo de Santa Monica housed in an L-shaped convent. Donation is highly encouraged.
GO ON A RIVER CRUISE
If you love the famed Loboc River Cruise in Bohol, you will surely enjoy the Capiz River Cruise, a community-driven program that provides livelihood to the locals. Head to Palina Greenbelt Eco Park in Roxas City to book a scenic river cruise where you’ll get to be serenaded by the locals onboard while enjoying the view of the river hemmed-in by mangroves and watching the local fishermen go about their daily grind. You can also dine at one of their floating cottages. They have promo offer during Saturdays and Sunday at 8:30 AM where you can enjoy the Capiz River cruise with snacks for only Php 100 per person. At the entrance, there are modest stores selling dirt-cheap dried fishes which would make for a good pasalubong.
Palina Greenbelt Eco Park
Contact#: 0910 609 7475
SUNSET VIEWING AT EMMANUELASA BY THE SEA
Perhaps one of Roxas City’s best-kept secret is the newly-opened Emmanuelasa by the Sea. This charming house was beautifully-designed by Clay Dalid and his brothers. Everything here is artsy and hip. Plus you can sip a really good cup of coffee and try a delicious, home-cooked pasta while enjoying the sunset by the beach.
Emmanuelasa By the Sea
Roxas City, Capiz
Mobile: 0917 882 2162
WHERE TO STAY IN ROXAS CITY, CAPIZ
Pueblo De Panay, Lawaan, Lawaan, Roxas City (Capiz)
ROXAS CITY CAPIZ TOURS
For hassle-free Roxas City Tour for only Php 500 per person which typically includes the activities mentioned above, book with Las Islas Travel and Tours.
Las Islas Travel and Tours
Las Islas Punta Dulog, Pueblo de Panay, Brgy.Lawaan
Roxas City, Capiz
Contact#:+63 995 335 7310, +63 929 595 8870
DISCLOSURE: Our trip to Roxas City was made possible by Las Islas Travel and Tours, Hotel Veronica, Café Terraza, Timplado and Emmanuelasa by the Sea.